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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the first to say goodbye

Colorado Anti-Violence Program and It Takes A Village Applaud Aurora Police Department for Thorough Investigation

On November 3, 2008, less than four months after the murder of Angie Zapata in Greeley, CO, Amie Wilcoxson was found deceased in her apartment by neighbors. Community members, including the transgender community that had included Angie and Amie, voiced concerns over the initial investigation by Aurora Police Department. Many had a heightened sense of awareness around issues of violence and increased vulnerability around their own personal identities.

Lieutenant Stef and Victim Assistance Supervisor Carole O’Shea met with community members on November 24, providing a forum for people to voice concerns about the investigation as well as process grief. While waiting for reports to come back regarding the cause of death, many people were anxious to receive more information about the case.

On February 6, 2009, Lt. Stef and Ms. O’Shea returned to It Takes A Village, along with lead Detective Stowell and coroner James Hibbard to provide a presentation on the investigation. Staff members of CAVP and It Takes A Village were impressed with the dignity and respect given to Amie throughout the process. Det. Stowell had a powerpoint presentation with many details about the investigation and explained, step-by-step, how decisions were made. Mr. Hibbard explained that his job is to determine the cause and manner of death. Based on medical reports, the cause of death was determined to be multiple drug toxicity. Amie consumed toxic levels of medication, all of which was prescribed to her. While Det. Stowell provided information about suicidal ideation, Mr. Hibbard provided scenarios to explain that it could not be determined whether the manner of death could be ruled accidental or suicide. The official manner of death is undetermined.

Many questions have been answered and fears about hate-violence have been calmed, but we are now faced with mourning the death of a member of our community. Amie Wilcoxson was a peer outreach worker for It Takes a Village’s TransAction program and was very active in the transgender community. She strongly advocated for the rights of the transgender community in employment, health care, substance abuse treatment, housing and more. She was a loving friend who exuded positive energy to those around her. She will continue to be missed.

While we do not know if Amie was suicidal, we know that she was experiencing some difficult emotional issues around the time of her death. We must remember to take care of each other and to take concerns and messages around suicide seriously. The number for the National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).

Kelly Costello
Director of Victim Services

Colorado Anti-Violence Program
P.O. Box 181085
Denver, CO 80218

good bye dear amie.. may you find peace... may all of us find just that..

today's sound choice is the unforgettable gladys knight and the pips with "neither one of us". now willie... this may be well before your time, but this is a prime lesson from gay 101.... 'cuz girlfriend gladys sang it for all of us....


1 comment:

Sheria said...

Your wish of peace to Amie made me think of a poem by Yeats that speaks to me of finding peace, The Lake Isle of Innisfree. (Love the Gladys!)

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

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